The Westerville Central High School boys track and field team entered the postseason looking to build on a strong finish in the OCC-Buckeye Division meet.
The Warhawks are competing in the Division I, district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby. The meet began May 15, continues Thursday, May 17, and concludes Saturday, May 19, with the top four finishers in each event advancing to regional Wednesday, May 23, and May 25 at Pickerington North.
"We think we can have a great district (meet)," coach Jason Loughman said. "There are several events we think can get out to regional."
With host Olentangy Orange considered the favorite entering the league meet May 10 and 12, Loughman was hoping Central would contend for second place. The Warhawks went on to finish second with 99 points, behind Orange (195.5) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (71.5), Westerville South (71), Westerville North (43) and Olentangy (43).
"I thought we had a great weekend," Loughman said. "Going into the OCC, we knew that Olentangy Orange was way out in front, but our goal was to see if we could be conference runner-up and we achieved that. We had a lot of great performances and a lot of all-conference athletes. I was really proud of the boys' efforts."
Luke Finnegan won the 100 meters (10.84 seconds), 200 (22.24) and 400 (48.96) and anchored the winning 1,600 relay (3:24.04) behind Nathan Schroeder, Dymon Gainey and Austin Smith.
"Luke was responsible for almost half of our team points," Loughman said. "He had 40 points that he was part of. We thought he could do it. He's having a phenomenal season."
Rickey Hyatt was second in the 300 hurdles (41.07), and Smith, Gainey, Joshua South and Sam Reyes were second in the 3,200 relay (8:10.52).
Smith established a program record of 4:24.32 in the 1,600 while finishing third.
"Over the last two seasons in cross country and track, (Smith has) gotten dedicated and motivated and he's had a lot of success," Loughman said.
The girls team also placed second, scoring 135 points to finish behind Liberty (146) and ahead of Orange (126), Olentangy (61), North (35) and South (20).
Winners for the Warhawks were McKenna Fry in the 800 (2:20.07) and 1,600 (5:02.46), Chloe Ey in the 400 (58.56), Mabinty Kebe in the 100 hurdles (15.41), Moriah Johnson, Skylar Themelaras, Delaney Reed and Savannah Hall in the 400 relay (meet-record 48.69), Ey, Kebe, Kayla Jones and Sydney Kapral in the 1,600 relay (4:03.2) and Fry, Kapral, Jones and Ey in the 3,200 relay (9:24.76).
Hall was second in the 100 (12.39) and third in the 200 (26.09), Kebe was second in the 300 hurdles (45.33) and Gianna Brooks was second in the long jump (16 feet, 9 3/4 inches).
Lyssa Zepfel (23.54 and 1:31.09) and Leah Schulze (26.87 and 1:54.27) finished first and second, respectively, in the seated 100 and 400.
"We had a great weekend," coach Ryan Borland said. "Unfortunately, we came up short of beating Liberty. We had a few hiccups throughout the meet, but other than that we had a wonderful meet and they were just a little better than us. The kids were excited about how they competed."
The girls are competing in the district 2 meet, which began May 15, continued May 16 and concludes Saturday, May 19, at Darby. The top four finishers in each event qualify for regional.
"They're excited about what they can do at district," Borland said.
Softball team reaches semifinal
The 19th-seeded softball team improved to 16-9 with a 14-4 upset of top-seeded Marysville in a Division I district semifinal May 14 at Olentangy.
Central plays 16th-seeded Pickerington Central in a district final Friday, May 18, or Saturday, May 19, at Pickerington Central.
The Warhawks advanced to the semifinal with a 12-1, five-inning win over 25th-seeded Dublin Scioto in the second round May 9 at home. Danielle Ingram, Avrey Schumacher and Cami Compson each homered in a five-run third inning.
The district champion plays Lancaster or Teays Valley in a regional semifinal Wednesday, May 23, at Ohio State. The regional final is May 26 at Ohio State.
The Warhawks lost to Lancaster 12-10 on April 20.
Boys lacrosse team opens tourney
The sixth-seeded boys lacrosse team was 8-9 before playing seventh-seeded Darby in the second round of the Division I, Region 3 tournament May 15. Both teams had a first-round bye.
The winner plays at fifth-seeded Hilliard Davidson or 19th-seeded Newark in a quarterfinal Friday, May 18, with that winner playing top-seeded Upper Arlington, 10th-seeded Pickerington North, 13th-seeded Beavercreek or 16th-seeded Miamisburg in a semifinal Tuesday, May 22. The regional final is May 25.
Central defeated Beavercreek 8-7 on March 26 and North 10-9 on March 20, but lost to Davidson 12-7 on April 27.
Girls lacrosse team falls to Liberty
The 12th-seeded girls lacrosse team finished 4-16 with a 20-3 loss at second-seeded Liberty on May 14 in the first round of the Division I, Region 1 tournament.
Boys volleyball team preps for tournament
The boys volleyball team finished the regular season 14-7 and on a four-match winning streak.
Central is seeded eighth of 20 teams in the Division I East Region tournament and plays ninth-seeded Westerville North in the second round Saturday, May 19, at Olentangy after a first-round bye. The winner plays second-seeded Olentangy, 16th-seeded Hilliard Bradley or 19th-seeded New Albany in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22, at Olentangy.
The Warhawks closed the regular season with a 25-19, 27-25, 25-27, 25-16 win over Dublin Coffman on May 10.
Baseball team falls to Tigers
The baseball team's season ended May 9 with a 9-1 loss at ninth-seeded Pickerington Central in the second round of the Division I district tournament.
The 24th-seeded Warhawks finished 13-15.
"We knew we had a challenge," coach Jeff Keifer said. "They had a sophomore, Michael Shinohara, who was under the radar at the tournament draw. He had been shutting down good baseball schools in the OCC-Ohio, so we had to figure out a way to hit him and keep their big guns from scoring. I thought we were there. Noah Ring pitched a great game."
Boys tennis team competes at sectional
The boys tennis team closed its season in a Division I sectional tournament May 10 at Hilliard Bradley.
The doubles teams of juniors Cory Blankenship and Jared Jaicks and junior Lakshan Suthanthira and sophomore Krish Nair each finished 1-1.
In singles, freshmen Will Arnett and Michael Weiler went 1-1 and junior Mason Fortin went 0-1.
"This is a different environment that they haven't played in before for a lot of them, so it's a good experience," coach Brian Arnett said.
Freshman Jackson Rittman also is eligible to return.
The Warhawks finished 3-8 overall and went 1-4 in the OCC-Buckeye to tie North and South for fourth behind Orange (5-0), Olentangy (4-1) and Liberty (3-2).
"We came in hoping that we'd be better by the end of the year than we were at the beginning and we definitely accomplished that," coach Arnett said.